Hello everyone, we are on to week eight of our season. It is a very tough matchup this week with Arizona State. I mentioned even on our media day in the summer that I thought they had one of the better quarterbacks in the conference, and he seems to be playing pretty well right now. Offensively they are moving the ball as well as anybody. Defensively they seem like they are doing a good job of making opposing offenses work for it and I think they are hitting on their cylinders right now at the right time of the season. For us it will be imperative that we improve in our areas that we need to improve in and obviously put together a really good game plan for this coming opponent. With that being said, I'm also making that announcement that Matt Moore is the starting quarterback this week. I think he is back to 100 percent of his skills both physically and mentally. Drew Olson did a great for us, in terms of helping keeping things together and generating some wins for us. Matt, I think given a full week of preparation for this week against Arizona State, will do a great job of getting back to his role as the starting quarterback. With that being said, I'd like to open it up for questions please.
How is the injury situation?
Our most significant one is Rodney Leslie. It was the one that caused the most concern. We thought his injury was more significant at game time, but with further testing done, those tests came back negative. They think it is just a deep bruise, a clavicle shoulder bruise. So his availability will be determined from day to day. We will see how he feels at the end of the week. Jarrad Page played and obviously he is still not 100 percent, but I would guess he will be better this week than what he was this past week. The other guys, we just had some dehydration issues during the game with Brandon Chillar, Ryan Boschetti and Junior Taylor. All three of those players are fine.
Are you expecting Matt Ware to play?
We'll see whether he is capable of playing. I think for him, it will be determined with practice time, what he can do with running and cutting off of that ankle. Right now his prognosis looks decent, but again he needs to do the work on the field to see whether he can play or not. We are hopeful.
How did you make the decision to go with Matt Moore this week?
I think in the grand scheme of things it was just a matter of time that was going to happen. I think I wanted to make sure that he was fully capable of assuming the role he had at the beginning of the season and we got him some time in a couple of games. We didn't play him in last week's game because, given the nature of the game, I wasn't comfortable doing that. I think Matt Moore does his best when he gets the opportunity to assume the reps of a starter in preparation and I think he will be ready to go this weekend.
How much of it (decision to start Moore) had to do with Drew going 9-for-20? You kept saying after the game that there were some reads he missed and some of the decisions he made...
I think that is the first thing anybody looks at, including myself, but I don't think that was the biggest and significant part of the decision. I wanted to make sure Matt was at the level of both his mental and physical nature at what that was before his injury. And getting used to the brace and doing some things in practice; throwing, timing and all that stuff, all that became a factor as well. He plays best when he gets reps and that's where any starter plays best when they get reps. To me I think it was a decision that we think is in the best interest of where we are trying to head to in the final five games.
In the last couple of weeks he said he (Moore) was at full strength, did you notice some things that weren't all the way back?
That's my coaching opinion yes, I believe, I think the kid always feels confident in his own abilities and I still felt he wasn't quite where he could or should be for him to be productive for us. I think the last three weeks of practice and particularly the reps he took as the No. 2 quarterback, he did some good things. We're hoping with the increase in the amount of reps and preparation for a game, that he will be ready to go.
How hard was it to pull a starter that has won four straight games?
It's hard. It was a close competition to begin with, if you remember all the way through the camp. Both of them, as you've seen and its been proven, are very capable quarterbacks that can win. I'm not taking anything away from what Drew has done. Drew has done some good things for our offense and you know, given the nature of that position, I told them both it probably isn't the last time for anything, because of how close that competition has been. They keep pressuring each other in terms of how you have to compete and play well and that's the good thing about the nature of both of them at the level that they are at right now.
When did you tell them?
Did you tell them together or individually?
Not getting the reps in the last few weeks, did that contribute to your decision to not play him this last week?
Yes because given the nature of the game, even though we led almost the whole game, it wasn't at a comfortable pace for me in that game to make a change at the given time. We did something similar to that versus Arizona where we put him in and I think, I don't know if it was productive for offense to do so at that time when we did that in Arizona. So just given the situation we were in, I think it was important to keep going with what we had.
Complete press conference available by clicking on the audio link at the top of this page.